Jump in the waves or go to the races in this classic California beach town
They play Bing Crosby's "Where the Turf Meets the Surf" each day at Del Mar Racetrack. And for good reason: That song neatly captures the essence of summer in Del Mar. With the ponies running at the track and the waves breaking along the shore, a visit here has become an August ritual for many Southern Californians. The legendary track — where Seabiscuit defeated Ligaroti in 1938 — still retains the glamour that made it a favorite during Hollywood's golden age. First post isn't till midafternoon, so there's plenty of time to hang by the ocean or explore Del Mar's villagelike shopping district before heading over to the races.
Del Mar is 20 miles north of San Diego. From I-5, exit at Via de la Valle and go west. The racetrack is well signed; to reach the village, turn south on Jimmy Durante Blvd.
Americana This modern mainstay with sidewalk seating is a good bet for breakfast. INFO: $$; 1454 Camino Del Mar; 858/794-6838.